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The annual basketball camp at the Netawaka Family & Fitness Center drew 63 young participants from towns across Northeast Kansas, including Holton, Horton, Manhattan, Onaga, Hoyt and Topeka.

A lot of basketballs were bouncing at the Netawaka Family & Fitness Center on Nov. 3 as youngsters from towns across Northeast Kansas took part in a free pre-season Kickoff Skills Clinic.

The annual camp, conducted by the Darting Basketball Academy, is so popular there were 63 attendees in grades 3rd to 11th. Plus there were 69 on the wait list. They came from Horton, Holton, Manhattan, Onaga, Hoyt, Topeka and several other area communities.

Eager to get a start on the upcoming season, the young athletes were run through drills by instructors Kerry Darting and his assistants.

An eager participant was Kolbie Noel, a 5th grader at Holton Elementary School.

“We’ve been going to this annual academy for several years now,” said her father, Ryan Noel of Holton. “This academy has been great for Kolbie and the other kids. They’re challenged to improve their skills, and they learn how to train themselves, too.”

The parents of the attendees didn’t stand idle while the young ones bounced about. A dozen of them were led in kickboxing and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) by Katie Askern and Casey Patterson, who are regular class instructors at the Center.

“This free basketball camp attracted people from good distances, and offered us another opportunity to have them visit this 30,000 sq. ft. facility for the first time,” said Director Scott Steffes.

“This helps us attract new members. When they see our 8,000 sq. ft. heated pool, its full-size basketball court, the top-of-the-line fitness equipment, indoor walking lanes and more — it’s pretty convincing,” he said.

“We’ve hosted a wide number of functions recently. Our facility is fast becoming the ‘Community Gathering Place’. These events allow us to show we’re proud of that role. A lot of people are ‘discovering’ Netawaka!”

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